Hotel restaurants are not my first choice for having brunch. Brunch needs to be in a place that has some character with a lot of locals mingling about, and the somewhat staid environment of a hotel lobby doesn’t really offer that. I would, however, make an exception for Reynard, the restaurant at the Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg. When you enter, you do feel like you are entering a very corporate version of what a nice Victorian-themed bar and restaurant should be like, and you wonder if you’ll find people wearing flannel shirts and raw denim jeans eating good old Americana-themed dishes like bacon-fat brussels sprouts or flap jacks.
The brunch menu does have the greatest hits like poached eggs and fried chicken on there, but they’re not as predictable as you would think. The baked eggs, usually seasoned with a few herbs or a tomato sauce, were reenvisioned as a variation on crunchy rice–soccarat in Spain, noo roong ji in Korea–lightly curried and draped over textured black rice, accompanied by tomatoes and cilantro. This detour from the brunch norm was well received, with a lot of persistent scraping of spoon against the cast iron plate to get one last bit of curried morsel.
They were even able to bring something new to pancakes, which isn’t easy to do, given our expectation that they be these light and fluffy things. The core of a pancake’s identity is in its billowy softness, and so in what seems like sacrilege, Reynard keeps the cast-iron pancakes on the griddle for a little longer until they are a crunchy, golden brown. Sounds like heresy, but it’s a genius and tasty act of rebellion. There’s always a twist with each dish so that brunch here is anything but basic.
80 Wythe Ave (between N. 11th and N. 12th St)
Brooklyn, NY 11211